UN Security Council meets over Iran ballistic missile launch


State-run news agency IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying the country's missile program is "defensive in nature" and does not violate any United Nations resolution.

Iran said on Sunday it would continue missile tests to build up its defences and denied this was in breach of United Nations resolutions following USA allegations that Tehran had tested a new missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.

Resolution 2231 says Iran is "called upon" to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles created to deliver nuclear weapons.

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of an global nuclear agreement in May and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic, criticising the deal for not including curbs on Iran's development of ballistic missiles.

The Security Council has been divided since the resolution was adopted over whether the language on ballistic missile launches is permissive or mandatory.

The secretary spoke before formally warning Russian Federation it has 60 days to start complying with a landmark nuclear missile treaty or the USA will abandon the pact, raising concern about Europe's future security.

In this file picture taken on November 26, 2018, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addresses the UN Security Council during a UNSC meeting on Ukraine at the United Nations in NY, the United States.

USA special envoy for Iran Brian Hook rejected Iran's insistence that its missile program is defensive.

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Iran's foreign minister has accused the United States of hypocrisy over Washington's criticism of Tehran's defensive missile program.

In Iran's transparent missile and defence policies, he said, there is no design and plan for having missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and there won't be any in the future.

"While [the United States] itself violates [UN Security Council resolution] 2231 - and even threatens to punish those who don't wish to violate it in abiding with illegal USA sanctions - it now falsely accuses Iran of violating the very SAME resolution", Mr. Zarif added.

There has been anger in Europe at Washington's abrupt withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal - derided by Trump as a failure but still cherished by many in Brussels as a crowning achievement of European Union diplomacy.

Last week, the Iranian Foreign Ministry refuted Pompeo's claim that the Iranian missile program allegedly violated the United Nations resolution.

US Strategic Command tracked the Iranian test using a satellite network that traces ballistic missile launches, a senior administration official told CNN.

"This is a grave and escalating threat and we need to restore deterrents against Iran's missile programme".

"The goal of America and its regional allies is, through exerting pressure and economic shortages, to say we have hit a dead end on the threshold of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution", said Zanganeh, as reported by Reuters, citing the oil ministry news agency SHANA. Officials have previously boasted of increasing their missile range and have specifically highlighted their supposed ability to strike USA bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, and elsewhere.